Monday, March 15, 2004

Wildflowers in the desert

Anza Borrego Desert is one of California State Park, which is located 90 miles east of San Diego.
Only for a few weeks in spring season, some desert wildflowers bloom there. Yesterday I went there with my friends.

There were tiny flowers. Most of flowers color was purple. Others were yellow and white. The land filled good smell like lavender. That color and smell reminded me Hokkaido in Japan. (Furano, a small town in Hokkaido is famous town about lavender in Japan.)

We also went Font's Point, from which you can see great wide view of Borrego Badlands.
I make this report in another web site with many pictures. Please check it out!

Saturday, March 13, 2004

Power of the people

Terror blasted three trains in Madrid, Spain. The News at March 11 made many people all over the world displease and be sad. I was also confused what I should say.
But I was attracted by one sight in the TV news this morning. That was the millions of people who gathered in streets of Madrid to mourn victims and to show solidarity. The news said at that time about ten millions of people participated and the number is about one quarter of population in Spain.

I wonder European people know about "the power of the people" well. Even if same kind of terror happened in Japan, we could not do such massive demonstration. Just after 9.11, American people united and showed their patriotism. But they could not appeal the nonsense of terror like this time in Spain.

Spaniards showed they never accept any kind of terrorism with the number of people participating demonstration. I think this is much more powerful and significant than any other comments of leader, any other policy or any military campaign.

We should learn many things from them. This demonstration shows the meaningless of terrorism to all over the world obviously.

Monday, March 08, 2004

Summary of this one month activity

Almost one month has gone since I started this blog.
Today I want to summarize this activity a little bit seriously. Why did I start this blog? There were some reasons.

I. Practice of English composition

This is main reason. Though I came in California last October, my English skill still does not be improved enough. Most of my working time, I am in the front of a computer or some measurement equipments alone, or I discuss something with my colleagues. But the members are fixed. Recently they became to understand what I want to say easily, because they have already learned my bad habits of English speaking. And moreover, we discuss about specific scientific field. This type of discussion is easier for us, because we have already shared many specific words of our specialty.
I always feel I need some reviews of my English study. When I speak English, I don’t notice my English mistake. Even if I notice my mistake while I am speaking, it is hard to speak again correctly and it is easy to forget. An English teacher of my ESL conversation class recommended me to make composition everyday like diary.
At the same time, I was also interested in blog. I usually read the news and web log of CNET.com and CNET Japan. Before this year I just had an interest in blog as a reader. But 'Sotto Voce', whose writer made guest blog in CNET Japan last February, fills the pleasure of bloggers. After I found that blog, I wanted to make my blog. Then I thought it was good method to use blog for my English practice.
Unfortunately my English teacher doesn't like using PC. I can't use this blog as an interactive training with him. But he makes correction of my printed papers. Sometimes some of my colleagues and friends point my mistakes by e-mail. I always thank them. Now, this works. Do you want to know how my English skill is improved? I think it need more times.

II. Communication with my American friends

The second purpose is to let my friends know who I am and what I think. Actually the number of my American friends is not so many. But sometimes I need the time to speak what I feel in English and I lost the chance to say that. To write some personal opinion in my blog, I can make chances to talk about it with my friends. Now, it also works. For this purpose, I also started to make another web site with free format. But recently the number of Japanese readers is more increased than the number of American readers. So, I tend to be absorbed to make Japanese web site. It is not good for my English practice...

III. Making opinions as a foreigner to American people

Sometimes I found good web site which included some feeling or opinions of Japanese people who lived in the US. They wrote both of respectable points and bad points of the US. But most of them are written by Japanese language. It is pity. I want to tell such opinions to American people directly. I know, it needs more progressive English skills. Now I am satisfied this blog as a private training. This purpose is my final goal.

Saturday, March 06, 2004

How popular is the NY Yankees on the west coast?

The tickets of the LA Dodgers single home game were on sale today. I tried to purchase tickets for one game with internet online. The game will be at June 19th, the LA Dodgers versus the NY Yankees. Most Japanese want to watch that game because the NY Yankees has Hideki Matsui, a famous Japanese baseball player and now the LA Dodgers also has some good Japanese baseball players.
Tickets of all Dodgers single home games were on sale today morning except for the opening game. For first two hours, it was hard to connect the Dodgers web site online. Sometimes I tried and failed. In the afternoon, I could connect to the web site to purchase the tickets which I want. But, can you believe it? At that time the rest of the tickets of that game were scarce!

The price of the Dodgers home game tickets is from $6.00 to $37.00. Higher priced ticket seats are closer to home plate. When I could connect to the web site, all the tickets higher than $12.00 were sold out. This may be some reasons. That game will be good match. That game will take place in daytime of a weekend. Those games during 6/18-6/20 were the only chance we can see the Yankees in California.

But I still wonder why only that game was sold out early. There are many other good games like the Dodgers versus the SF Giants at weekend. I also researched those other games sales and I found I could buy the higher price tickets of all other games. Why was only this game of Dodgers versus Yankees sold out? Off course the Yankees has many good players. It's special. This year the Yankees also gets Alex Rodriguez. It might be too much. I feel American sports fans always like their home team. Is the NY Yankees so popular in California?

I guess the reason may relate to Japanese interests. Many Japanese baseball fans support Hideki Matsui. It draws big money. And California is very familiar and close to Japan. Many Japanese live in California. I guess half of Japanese baseball fans in California tried to buy that ticket today. But it is still not enough. I guess some Japanese travel agency tried to buy out the tickets of this game. They will make a big tour campaign in Japan like "Go to LA and watch the baseball battle of Matsui versus Nomo!!" and so on. What do you think?
I bought $12 tickets to this game. The seat position is almost at the top of outfield. I wonder how many Japanese tourists will appear this game.

Monday, March 01, 2004

The Oscar goes to ...

As everybody knows, the 76th Academy Awards took place last night.
I watched it on TV. Here's just my short impression.

The TV show was too long. It was almost 4 hours! The Grammy Awards is the music awards. We also enjoy great live performance in the Grammy Awards. But the Academy Awards is the movie awards. Most parts of this show were speech and talking. It was boring to watch the whole 4 hours.

Why was the announcement of best supporting actor the first in this show? Most Japanese might have lost their interests within first 20 minutes because we learned that Ken Watanabe, the Japanese actor who played in "the Last Samurai", did not win the Oscar.

Everybody admired "the Lord of the Ring." That may be good. But recently I have less interests the Hollywood Big Pictures. I have never seen "Titanic", "Armageddon", and so on. They might be fun. But they are just fun. Nothing serious. If I have some chances to see them on TV, I will see them. But I don't want to pay to see them in the theater.
(I have seen "the Last Samurai." Because I thought I need to criticize from the viewpoint of Japanese person.)

One winners comment by "the Barbarian Invasion," which won the Oscar of Foreign Language, was funny. They said, "We really thank that the Lord of the Ring was not nominated in this category."